North-west companies hampered by inadequate broadband

Companies in the north-west are still being hampered by poor-quality broadband, with little access available to the superfast speeds they need.

Research conducted by Deloitte has described access as ‘patchy’. Last year’s survey showed massive variations in broadband speeds across the area, and this year it looked at the availability of broadband in locations in Liverpool and Manchester. The results show that no locations can currently obtain the fastest speeds offered by fibre connections.

The TMT partner at Deloitte, Jodi Birkett, said the growth of cloud computing means that companies need faster business broadband, as the slower speeds mean productivity can be seriously reduced. She has called for changes to be made if a ‘northern powerhouse’ is to be created.

The survey looked at a number of key business areas, including Manchester Science Parks and Spinningfields, to determine the type of broadband the companies have access to. Traditional broadband service uses copper, which means the distance between the company’s building and the exchange is important. FTTP (fibre-to-the-premises) and FTTC (fibre-to-the-cabinet) are faster options.

The survey, which looked at 12 locations, found that just four had access to FTTC and none could access FTTP. Deloitte is concerned that some companies can’t afford to install faster broadband.

The government has been making the provision of fibre broadband a priority; however, the research shows that it cannot yet reach all the businesses that need it, despite the millions that have been poured into improvements in recent years.